CD4 T-cell hyperactivation and susceptibility to cell death determine poor CD4 T-cell recovery during suppressive HAART

Marta Massanella, Eugenia Negredo, Nuria Pérez-Álvarez, Jordi Puig, Raul Ruiz-Hernández, Margarita Bofill, Bonaventura Clotet, Julià Blanco

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102 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The failure to increase CD4 T-cell counts in some HAART-treated HIVinfected patients with satisfactory virological responses has been related to low CD4 T-cell production, high turnover and death. However, the relative contribution of these factors is still unclear, strongly limiting the definition of appropriate therapeutic strategies for these patients. Methods: A cross-sectional study was designed to evaluate the contribution of thymic activity, microbial translocation, cellular activation and death to CD4 T-cell recovery. We included 230 HIV-infected individuals on suppressive HAART (>2 years); 95 of them were considered 'discordant' (CD4 T-cell count ^lt;350 cells/ml) and 135 were considered 'concordant'. Comparative and logistic regression analyses were performed. Results: Discordant patients showed higher levels of activated [human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR+CD95 - and CD38+CD45RA-] cells in both the CD8 and CD4 T-cell compartments. Notably, the most significant differences were observed in CD4 T cells. Discordant patients showed lower naive CD4 T-cell production (CD45RA+CD31+ cells), higher spontaneous ex-vivo CD4 T-cell death and higher plasma levels of soluble CD14. Multivariate analysis showed that activation and death of CD4 T cells, along with nadir CD4 T-cell counts, were the only predictive factors for poor immune recovery. Moreover, the low correlations found between CD4 T-cell activation or death with thymic output and bacterial translocation suggest that additional factors modulate cellular activation and death and, in turn, CD4 T-cell recovery. Conclusion: CD4 T-cell repopulation during HAART is determined by CD4 T-cell activation and death. Therefore, strategies aimed to reduce these parameters should be envisaged to treat discordant patients. Copyright © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-968
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Bacterial translocation
  • Cell death
  • Discordant patients
  • Immune activation
  • Thymus


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